Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy {Belated} Thanksgiving

I did not take one single picture of Thanksgiving activities. FAIL.  In my defense, I was busy cooking, refereeing, and visiting! This was my first Thanksgiving to host and cook dinner and, most importantly, cook the turkey!  I was so nervous to cook it all myself and I didn't believe my mom when she said it was an easy meal to cook. It was though! It was cleanup that was a bear! And even though I'm a wash as I go kind of cook (out of necessity since I don't have a dishwasher) there were still plenty of dishes to wash. Thankfully Daphne (MIL) stayed and helped with dishes. She actually came early to help cook but I was nearly done already so she peeled potatoes and then played with Shane. 

I brined a turkey overnight, and then cooked it in an oven bag. It was the best turkey I've ever tasted, so moist! I also did mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn casserole, buns, deviled eggs, gravy, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce (out of a can, ick), banana cream pie, and a pumpkin roll which I made on Tuesday.  It was yummy! I always feel guilty on Thanksgiving--why do we need so much food, you know? Tradition I guess. Still it was WAY overkill for what ended up being only 3 adults. If I'd know there would be so few people I would NOT have cooked so much. It was just Andrea (SIL), Daphne (MIL), and me. Nathan doesn't eat thanksgiving food--his thanksgiving is a bacon sandwich and the banana cream pie.  Justyn (BIL) ended up not coming because he had to work. And Brian (FIL) was here for an hour or so but left as I was carving the turkey, so he didn't eat with us. And speaking of carving the turkey...that was a sight to have seen! I've never carved a turkey, or even seen one carved! I was trying to look it up on my phone while I carved it with an incredibly dull knife. Thankfully it was fall-apart tender so I didn't actually need to cut much! And I was carving it with the pan over the sink because the bag and the pan were so full of juices, and then it fell into the sink (good thing I'd just washed it out!) It was funny.

This is one of the activities I had for Shane while I cooked Thursday morning.

Then on Friday we went the the annual day-after-Thanksgiving Christmas parade. We've gone before, and were given free seats, and then we tried to go again last year but it was a bust. We actually went the first year we were married as well but I didn't have a blog back then.  We were give three seats this year as well, by a woman who had some extras. Neat how God makes that happen each year I'm pregnant! lol. This year our little family went with Grammy and the cousins. 

Cousin Alie

Grammy (Daphne)

Cousin Elvis--I wore him in my Moby Wrap to keep him warm. 

And of course, my favorite of them all, sweet Shane. He was SO enthralled by the lights and the music and the horses. I'm really glad we took him!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Best. Soup. EVER.

Sunday night I tried out a new soup recipe and it turned out to be the best soup I've ever tasted in my life, including at restaurants.  I don't know where the recipe is from, I think I got it from a friend who posted it on Facebook. I wish I'd taken a picture to post but seriously, even if you don't like broccoli you need to try this. Oh, and it's not really low-fat. Maybe next time I'll tweak a little more. Hopefully it's as good every time I make it and this wasn't a fluke.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

2 10 oz pkgs frozen broccoli (I used fresh, about four large heads and it was perfect. I chopped the florets off the stems and then did a rough chop on the florets so they were just little bits. That way Shane would eat them, and besides who likes eating a huge mushy floret anyway?)

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

Boil 4-5 cups water, add broccoli and onion and boil for about 10 min.

Then add:
2 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t garlic pdr
1 t celery salt (This wasn't in the recipe but I thought it sounded good. I'm not sure how fresh finely chopped celery would be, but celery is naturally salty so it would cut down on the amount of salt in the recipe)
1 lb cubed Velveeta (I used the 2% kind and it was fine)

Add to pot, cook and stir often until cheese is melted.

Then add:
1 c milk
1 c whipping cream (The smallest box, I think it's a pint? That's a cup exactly)
1/4 c butter 

Allow butter to melt. While ingredients heat put 1/3 c flour in a bowl. Add a half cup soup, whisk until smooth. Slowly add about two cups of soup, whisking to keep smooth. Then add flour mixture to soup. This helps it to thicken.  Brink soup to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes. Portion into bowls 5 minutes before you serve or else you won't be able to eat it!

Serve with crusty warm french bread, or crackers.

INCREDIBLE! Shane ate a huge bowl full, and asked for more.

My other favorite thing to eat lately is a sandwich I usually have for lunch.  Take two slices of Sara Lee 45 calories or less whole grain bread. Spread brown mustard on each side. On one side  put slices of tomato, and cover with a slice of cheese. On the other side layer your lunch meat of choice--my favorite lately is black forest ham. Slide both halves faceup into your toaster oven and toast. Yummy yummy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Wow, I'm 26 today. I sound so old and decrepit.

I celebrated my birthday by attending class. It was awesome. I almost fell asleep. Oops! It's an important class, too. We're covering four chapters of the nervous system in a very short amount of time and it's the hardest material yet.

After my evening class Mom Vines made me quesadillas for supper, and peach cobbler for dessert. After we had our quesadillas she ran to the store to get some ice cream to top the cobbler and while she was gone the transformer in the in-laws backyard blew up. It was SO LOUD!!! Dad V and I found an oil lamp and a candle and called mom to buy some candles while she was out. About 5 minutes later the lamp started smoking and burning down and when we looked at it we realized the wick wasn't even long enough to be in the oil. Wow, FAIL!! As we were sitting around in the mostly dark house by the light of a flickering candle it brought back so many memories of my childhood, good ones that made me nostalgic and realize again how little time humans spend actually interacting with each other in today's over-entertained world. It's very sad, and I hope I can figure out how to have some slower personal times with my kids.

I went to the bathroom in the dark and it made me think of a time when I was a kid when I must have been complaining about having to take a shower with one candle and that it was too dark. My mom told me to pretend I was blind and feel for things. Such compassion, ha! but I really did used to pretend I was blind sometimes so that I would know how it felt. I was pretty fanciful when I was a kid. I had a huge imagination. I don't really like the grownup me very much. I'm too practical and I've lost touch with my kid side. My brother and sister and I also used to say we couldn't sleep because it was too hot, and mom would tell us to lie very still and we'd feel a breeze. Some nights we would lay there and fan ourselves with these little woven hand fans, foofooki's, and they always smelled like that market where we bought them no matter how long we'd had them. We'd just fan ourselves to sleep. Sometimes I could even con my sister into fanning me to sleep, just like when we got older I could con her into rubbing my back. Usually it went something like, you fan/massage me and then I'll fan/massage you. I'd get her to go first, and then I'd fall asleep. Not very nice, huh? Well, I'm not proud of it and I regret it because really it was terrible of me. Usually I would justify it by telling myself that she hogged the whole bed, kicked me, and took all the covers when it was cold. But really I was just being a self centred little snot. Sorry Erika!

"Helping" Mommy put away the clean dishes. Really I just gave him the organizer and a few pieces of silverware to keep him entertained while I did the dishes!

I think I had a really great, special childhood and I love that it was unique. I hope my kids look back, when they get old like me, and remember lots of good times!

Thanks Lord for another year here, and please help next year to be another good one!

14 Weeks

I'm pretty sure this is about what I looked like at 20 weeks pregnant with Shane.

Sorry about the shirt Mom, I know you wanted me to wear the same one for every picture I take throughout this pregnancy but I'd already taken this picture before you asked me to do that, and this shirt will not be fitting me for many more weeks. Next time I'll find one that I think will fit the whole time.

I got to hear the baby's heartbeat again this week, which was great! If you're friends with me on Facebook, I posted a video of it there.

I am pretty much 100% on my energy levels, which is great. I have been tackling some put off projects that have been needing done. Like reorganizing--why is it that I need to do that constantly?! I'm always thinking of a better or a different way of using my limited space. And as I'm reorganizing I'm also making a sale/donate pile. As usual. But this time my excuse is that we are moving soon *cough, not until next August, cough* so we need to consolidate and not pack a bunch of stuff we don't use.

School is almost over, thank God!

I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner and hosting it at my house this year! Woohoo! First time ever to cook T-day dinner myself. I hope it's good! I've been having dreams in which my turkey comes out of the oven frozen--ick!

I've gone from thinking I was feeling movement to being sure. I don't feel it every day, but when I do I know it.  For me personally, it feels like a little goldfish brushing its fins against the inside of my belly.

We don't find out baby's gender until January--I thought it was December but I was wrong. You see, the Dr. that does ultrasounds only comes to my birth center once a month, and the time he comes in December I'll only be 18 weeks. That is certainly late enough to find out the gender, but for all of the medical evaluations (which is the real reason to get the ultrasound) it is better to do the ultrasound between 20 and 24 weeks. Emily (my midwife) left it up to me if I wanted to get the scan in December or January, and since the real reason for getting an ultrasound is the medical evaluation I made the big girl decision to wait. I am personally not entirely comfortable with ultrasounds because I don't believe that we fully understand what their medical impact is but I will be getting this ultrasound, the anatomy scan, because it can catch many birth defects before that baby is born. For example, my friend's SIL had a baby whose intestines did not grow into the body before birth, and since they knew ahead of time they were able to have a surgical team standing by at the time of birth and it saved her life. This is just one example. It's a relatively short ultrasound, and good for peace of mind. And let's be real here--I want to know the baby's gender.

I think that's enough random thought for the week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Breastfeeding While Pregnant: The First Trimester

Gentlemen, please skip this post. Thanks!

The first pregnancy symptom I had with Shane, my firstborn, was sore breasts which at that point I chalked up to my oncoming menses. But then they got more and more sore. I took a HPT two days after my missed period and found that I was pregnant, and the soreness continued to escalate until I was wearing a bra 24/7 and could hardly stand the touch of bedding or clothing. At some point, although I don't remember when exactly, the soreness dissipated and things were fine up until Shane's birth when we began breastfeeding.

Since I am still nursing Shane, I wasn't sure what things would be like with this pregnancy. I began as always by researching the safety of tandem nursing (nursing while pregnant or nursing multiple children at once). At my first appointment with my midwife Emily I also talked with her about continuing to nurse while pregnant and she was completely supportive. And although I am not using my previous OB/GYN (I'm sorry Dr. H!) I asked him at one of my visits during Shane's pregnancy about nursing while pregnant and he was even fine with it. So I am fully satisfied that continuing to nurse is safe and beneficial. Of course, the caveat to this is that it is safe as long as the fetus is developing normally.  Check the bottom of the post for links to a few articles on nursing while pregnant/tandem nursing.

Week 3, 10 days past ovulation, positive HPT on 8/31:  No noticeable changes.
Week 4: Starting to feel a little twinge when Shane latches on.
Week 5: Starting to feel pretty sore at latch. It's necessary to breathe deeply for the first few moments. Considering night weaning because Shane is still waking up so often at night.
Week 6: Definitely sore nipples. Deep breathing is my friend. But still, it's only for the first few moments (till letdown I'm guessing) and it's no worse than those first few weeks of breastfeeding. Also, I am not experiencing any breast tenderness--I can only attribute it to the breastfeeding! I also know I've still got milk as I still can hear Shane gulping and swallowing.
Week 7-8: About the same
Week 9: Not sore much at all anymore, but I'm starting to wonder about my supply. Often Shane asks for water if he wakes up at night. I don't ever hear him gulping and swallowing anymore. Over that past month Shane has started sleeping most of the night and only waking up once, maybe twice. I'm glad because I was seriously considering night weaning and I'm glad he did it on his own when he was ready. I'm liking all of this sleep!
Week 10: Went swimmingly along until Saturday. On Saturday Shane decided he no longer needs to sleep, and woke up about every 10 minutes to half hour on Saturday and Sunday nights.  He just wanted to nurse all night. And normally I would just deal with that and it would be fine but unfortunately this concurred with two nights of very strong nursing aversions, as well as exhaustion. I am praying that this will not continue, and he will go back to sleeping through the night.
Week 11: Back to sleeping all night. He goes to sleep at eight and wakes up for a nurse around 6 then back to sleep till eight. OR, wakes up to nurse around seven and DOESN'T go back to sleep. Gradually he has weaned himself to just nursing at bedtime, in the morning, and before naptime. I'm not sure if it's because I'm gone so much during the day or if it's because of the pregnancy but either way he has done it on his own. Of course I have mixed feelings but overall I'm glad of the break.
Week 12: I'm not sure when it happened but my milk is very bitter now. I'm not sure why Shane's still nursing!  Yes, I've tasted my own milk. It was always sweet up until some point during this pregnancy. I'm not especially sore or tender right now but I'm definitely having some nursing aversions that I get through by playing on my phone.  I understand that this is very common during pregnancy and since it's only two or three times I day I deal with it. I know that he'll drop those feeds when he's ready.
Week 13: Whew! First trimester down! To recap: Sore and nursing many many times a day at the beginning. Not sore but getting the creepy crawlies and only nursing three times a day at the end, as well as decreased supply.

Some articles on tandem nursing:
Kellymom--The Official FAQ
Kellymom--Useful Links

Going Glass and Cleaning Cupboards

One of the things I've been trying to do in the past few months is to be more conscious of our consumption, and how it effects our health. I was raised to be conservative out of necessity--things like paper, water,  electricity (or solar power) and more were in short supply where we lived.  I have continued to be relatively conservative in my adult life. Since having a child I have become more concerned about what we're eating, what is going into our bodies, and what we are wasting. As most of you know we switched to cloth diapers. This was for economic, health, and eco reasons. When Shane started to eat solids we started to eat a lot healthier, and although we are not yet where I'd like to be I have made large improvements!  The other thing I've been trying to tackle slowly is the use of plastics. Plastics, even when BPA free, still contain chemicals that can leach into your food especially when heated. And since I haven't yet become hippie enough to give up my microwave, I do a lot of heating food in containers! But glass is expensive, and so I've been trying to replace things slowly. The first to go was my plastic water bottle. Ever noticed how water tastes funny after it sits in a plastic bottle for a while? Yeah. I switched to stainless steel, and have my eye on a neat glass one too.    Then this week I found some pretty glass containers to start to replace all my little plastic ones. I use these all. the. time. for leftovers, lunches, freezing portions to eat later, etc. I believe the lids are silicone, but they don't touch the food or go in the microwave so I'm not too worried about them.  And look what pretty colors they are! The bright colors make me happy every time I look in my lid drawer.

The other thing I've noticed as I've come into the second trimester is a marked return of energy, praise God!  This weekend I was able to tackle the much needed project of cleaning and re-organising my kitchen cupboards. This is my "pantry", right next to the fridge. All of our food goes in this cupboard and it was kind of a jumbled mess, especially the spice area on the bottom left.

For the grand total of $1.34 I bought two perfectly sized little while baskets to organize my mess of spices/baking supplies.  I always think of my SIL Andrea when I look at my spices because we shared a house for a while, and when we moved in she took one look at my spice collection and asked if I was Betty Crocker or what? It still makes me laugh years later. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Second Trimester--13 weeks 3 days

Woohoo! We're in the second trimester now baby--we're cookin' with gas! I feel energy coming back too--yesterday I cleaned out and rearranged my kitchen cupboard "pantry" and cleaned the house. Today I had school and made a cake for Daphne's birthday tomorrow. I've been cooking our meals again (Please don't ask me to admit how many boxes of Kraft Mac we ate in the first tri, especially when I was so nauseous!)  and getting down on the floor a lot to play with Shane.  I still am going to bed early whenever I can and of course some days are better than others but overall I am having more days where I do chores/homework/playing with Shane and less days where I sit on the couch in a fog.

I cry at the drop of a hat, mostly anything related to babies, birth, or sentimental things. Nothing in real life though.  I remember this from last time!

Also, while I was taking a test in Psych today I pretty sure I felt the baby move. Made my day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We're in the Navy...

Nathan joined the Navy.

Yes, you read that correctly. Monday, October 31st he took the oath of enlistment. Why the Navy? Well, because he wanted the Air Force or the Navy, and the Navy is more welcoming to people who aren't perfect.  He first discussed joining with my dad and brother while we were in San Antonio for my brother's graduation from USAF boot camp.  He said he's been thinking about joining the military for quite some time and they encouraged him. A few of Nathan's reasons for wanting to join are: steady job, regular raises, paid job training (obtaining a skill for a career as opposed to being an unskilled laborer), health and dental benefits, security for our family, and the opportunity to see the country/world on someone else's dime.

Reactions to his news have been mostly predictable with the exception of Brian, Nathan's dad. Predictably, my family was excited. We are travelin' folk with military background, so of course my family was excited.  We expected that Brian would be upset; he and Nathan are close and Nathan's family, much like my dad's side of the family, are not travelers. But what Brian told Nathan was, "You're a man and if that's the decision you need to make for you family then that's what you need to do." We were (gladly) amazed! Then in another conversation he told Nathan he was proud of him, which made his heart grow two sizes. Also predictably Daphne (Nathan's mom) and Andrea (Nathan's sister) were not happy. Daphne hasn't said too much about it other than she's sad that we'll be moving away--one of the things I appreciate about Daphne is that she is able to distance herself from her kids' adult decisions. If that makes any sense. I guess what I'm trying to say is that she doesn't interfere and that's really sweet. I can't figure out exactly how to explain what I'm thinking! So as far as I know she is probably grieving, but doing it quietly and not giving Nathan any guilt trips. Andrea has been, mmm, less than pleased and hasn't hesitated to let Nathan know it.  She was very shocked and upset to find out we'd be moving away, and that we actually wanted to. I know it's been really hard on him because he dearly loves his sister, but he has been able to be firm but loving and I am proud of him.

This whole thing has really made it obvious to me how different people can be when it comes to being settled! This is not criticism but observation--personally I can't imaging not wanting to travel and see the world and move around. Living in one place forever just kind of sounds like a death sentence to me. (Unless it was, say, Colorado. Or somewhere else in my beloved Rockies.) But, that's very much the culture of my family. If we had been around in the olden days we would have been the families traveling West in the covered wagons!

Other people think that it's a horrid idea to ever leave the town/area and that living overseas would be the most horrible thing ever. (We want to live in Europe) I was actually accused of not being family oriented because of my desire to travel. Yeah, not true at all. So while my gypsy spirit makes it a little hard for me to understand this viewpoint I do realize that I am in the minority and most people do remain in one geographic location throughout their lifetimes. I am not just talking about Nathan's family here; my dad's side of the family is all the same way.

Personally, I am happy about Nathan's decision.  We'll have healthcare. Nathan will have a career, and hopefully one that he likes better than his current job! We'll get to live in a lot of different places, and hopefully the military will be as good for Nathan's self esteem and self discipline as it has been for my brothers. This is not to say that I don't have concerns. Nathan will be leaving for basic next August and I will have a two year old and a two month old.  His job description said he is aboard ship 65% of the time so I will be single parenting a lot. He plans to strike for a new job after his first 18 months but until then that's how it will be. But in reality that's not a lot different than how things are now. Summers Nathan is gone, out of town, for weeks at a time. Currently he is working nights and sleeping days and we only see each other for a few minutes a couple of days a week and Sundays if he's not over at his dad's.  So really things won't be changing that much for me, unless he gets a shore job in which case he might be home to help out more.

So now you all know our big news, and the big life changes headed our way! Exciting stuff!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

12 weeks

I think I'll do a survey this week.

How far along? 12 weeks 5 days

Total weight gain/loss: Zero. And I am happy about that.

Maternity clothes? Some shirts. But that's mainly because I like them and they are my cool-weather shirts. ;) I am starting to show a little though. My old jeans still fit but I can't wait until they are too tight in the belly because I can't stand them. They are baggy and unflattering.

Stretch marks? Just the bazillion and one from Shane! ;P

Sleep: I love to sleep and I don't get enough. What a surprise! Thankfully Shane sleeps through the night, although this time change stinks! I had to get up at 6:15 today. 

Best moment this week: Getting a 105% on my Anatomy and Physiology quiz. My first 100 of the class! (And probably my last--it's a stinking hard class!)

Movement: There have been a few times I've thought I felt flutters, but I keep telling myself I'm crazy and it's too early. I mean some people do but it was only a couple of times, and hasn't happened for a few days not.

Food cravings: None that I can think of.

Gender: We'll find out around Christmastime. My intuition is broken on this baby--I keep wavering back and forth. At the moment I'm thinking girl. Ask me again next week and I'll tell you boy.

Labor Signs: NO. And I'd like to keep it that way for, oh, 28 more weeks!

Belly Button in or out? In. It never popped out with Shane, just got flat.

Wedding rings on or off? On. I wore my wedding band the entire pregnancy last time but took my engagement ring off the last month or so. Since then I had it sized up to be the same as my wedding band so I expect to be able to wear it the whole time.

What I miss:  Um...

What I am looking forward to: Movement! To me that's as big of a deal as finding out the gender! I've missed it ever since Shane was born.

Weekly Wisdom: Move somewhere without Daylight Savings Time.

Milestones: 2 Weeks ago I heard Baby's heartbeat for the first time!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Today and yesterday, Shane voluntarily told me/signed "I loved you." I melt!

Yesterday morning I was doing chores and when I sat down to take a break, Shane went out to the dirty clothes in the garage and got a washrag. He brought it in and washed himself, then his truck. Then he took it back out to the correct pile, brought back a pair of his pants, "dried" the truck, and took the pants back out to their pile. Then his found his key, got in the truck, and drove with his little arm hanging out the window like his daddy. It was SO cute.

A few days ago I was letting him run around naked while I did dishes so his diaper rash could air out. He came in the kitchen, pulled on my pants, and said "Mama, I pee pee." We might be getting close to time to potty train. And no, we don't call it pee pee we call it potty, but I suspect they sound the same when he says them.

So I brought out the potty someone gave us (that I thankfully recently scrubbed down with bleach and Dawn) and what did he do with it? He dumped his bowl of snacks in it, then picked it up and dumped them out and ran around in them shrieking with laughter. Yeah, guess he doesn't like that idea! Haha.

Shane has always called me Mama, never Mommy, but the other morning while I made breakfast he plopped down on the rug and wailed, "Mommmmmyyyyyy, owie boobie!" (Translated this means Mommy I got a pricker stuck in my foot and it hurts. Owie=pricker, Boobie=boo boo.) It was so sweet to hear him say Mommy! And going along with the whole boobie thing (I can't believe that is how he says boo boo), I taught him that when he gets hurt I'll kiss it and it'll be all better. So not anytime he gets any kind of bump or injury, no matter how small, he says boobie and comes over for it to be kissed all better.

Kids are incredible with the things they pick up and how fast they learn, especially at this age. It's so much fun to watch and see what he'll do next!